Rose Parade, Los Angeles
The Rose Parade is actually held in Pasadena, County of Los Angeles. It is probably the most famous parade around. Thousands od people come from all over the country to see the New Years Day Rose Parade.
2010 was the first time I had gone to see it. I usually watch it on tv every year choosing to stay in my warm bed and not fight traffic and freeze outside. This year (2010) a good friend of mine said that we should go because we life in Southern California and had never seen it. So we made a plan to do it. We left the house at 5am so that we can attempt to get a decent spot. Luckily we had another friend who comes every year, rents a hotel room right on the parade route and he managed to save us a few spots.
The parade starts promptly at 8am but people are sitting out there from the day before. Concidering the amount of people out everything goes pretty smoothly most of the time. The parade last for a few hours then good luck getting out of Pasadena. The traffic is horrible. Watching the Rose Parade is something you have to go to at least once in a lifetime.
Pasadena's Americafest on the 4th of July features a spectacular fireworks display. Some claim (with good reason) that it's the best in the West. Starting at 9:00 PM, you'll be regaled for 35 minutes with all kinds of fireworks effects accompanied by stirring patriotic music. It builds up to a crescendo until the finale when the night sky is turned into day for a few moments by the dazzling pyrotechnics.
Before the fireworks, the people were entertained (in 2004) by a BMX bike stunt show, the Flying Elvi (10 Elvis Presley impersonators parachuting into the stadium and then performing), and several singers and bands. At one point, the people were allowed to occupy the turf. Many spread their blanket on the grass and relaxed while watching the entertainers and, later, the fireworks.
Ticket to this event costs $20.
You don't see this on TV! Because we were further down the parade route, the spacing between participants was no longer consistent. Thus, for long stretches of time we couldn't see any horses, bands, or floats. Many asked, "Is the parade over?" A lady, who had seen it all before, said that you know that the parade is over when you see people carrying signs like "Repent! The End is Near!" I only half-believed her. Until I saw them and several tow trucks bringing up the rear of the parade. Yup! The parade was over!